VANCOUVER, BC – Native languages are dying, but there is still hope.

A recent report from the First Peoples’ Heritage, Language and Culture Council (First Peoples’ Council) revealed that fluent speakers represent only five per cent of B.C’s total population of First Nations, despite the Province being home to 60 per cent of Canada’s First Nations. 52 per cent of fluent speakers are aged 65 years or older and 39 per cent are aged 45 to 64.

The signs are clear: First Nation languages will die in this generation if something isn’t done right now.

On June 5th-6th, 2010, three language revitalization activists will host the “Save Your Language” Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia. The two-day conference will host workshops on innovative language-learning methods to help create a shift in B.C.’s endangered languages.

Three individuals who have worked in recent years in language-teaching have come together to accomplish new things for Aboriginal languages. Language-instructor and community organizer Dustin Rivers, from the Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) people in North Vancouver, started using language-teaching methods previously unheard of.

Dustin Rivers was introduced to Evan Gardner and Willem Larsen from Portland, Oregon, who shared their innovative language teaching & learning method called “Where Are Your Keys?”. This method has been used with native communities in Oregon, with great success in creating fluent speakers and language-teachers of dying languages. The hope is to bring more of this success to other Aboriginal communities.

Dustin, Evan, and Willem are inviting Aboriginal people, their families, and friends from British Columbia and elsewhere to learn techniques, approaches, and methods to save endangered languages. Individuals attending the conference will be introduced to new concepts on teaching and learning languages that they can immediately apply to their own endangered languages.

It only costs $50 to register before the June 1st, 2010 deadline.

For additional information, also visit our website
For further information, please contact Conference Coordinator Dustin Rivers at or call 604-999-2780

Written by Evan Gardner